AstraZeneca and Sinovac require 0.5ml of the vaccine in a dose while Pfizer requires only 0.3ml.
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After allegations of being injected with “empty syringes”, a healthcare professional who is also a vaccinator across different PPV’s in the Klang Valley, took to social media to highlight what you should know about the vaccinations given.
Facebook user Marissa Jowen recently posted a series of informative images for “things you should know” about how the three different vaccines available in Malaysia are administered with the disclaimer that the information she shared is what her current vaccination centre does and may differ across PPV’s in Malaysia.
Types of syringes
There are 2 types of syringes used, Low Dead Volume (LDV) and non-LDV.
LDV syringes are designed to limit dead space that exists between the syringe hub and needle thus maximising the syringe content. However, Marissa stresses that they are not always used and are prioritised for Pfizer vaccines, or when they are available.
Seeing how the volume of the vaccines are already quite small, when administering your shot with an LDV syringe, read the volume at the base and not at the tip:
Non-LDV’s on the other hand are read at the base of the plunger.
Different vaccines, different dosage
Sinovac and AstraZeneca vaccines both require 0.5ml in the syringe.
If using an LDV 1.0ml syringe, it would look like this:
And the plunger must align halfway at 0.5ml like this:
Pfizer on the other hand, contains 0.3ml and the plunger must come up to the 0.3ml line like this:
Once you’ve been injected properly, this is what the syringe should look like:
Do note a vial of the Sinovac vaccine contains 2 doses, an AstraZeneca vial contains enough for 10 doses with pre-syringing already done, and Pfizer’s vial contains enough for 6 doses, with dilution and pre-syringing normally done beforehand.
So in other words, vaccinators only draw from the vial in front of you if you’re getting dosed with Sinovac due to the vial only containing enough for two doses.
For AstraZeneca and Pfizer however, the doses have been pre-loaded and left in the cooler box to ensure a single drop isn’t wasted.
Different needles used too
A large green needle is used to draw the vaccine from the vial and remove any air bubbles:
They will then change to a tiny blue/orange needle before it’s pricked into your arm.
Ever since the claims of empty syringes, Marissa and her cohorts are now told to show their patients:
- The syringing process from the vaccine vial (if dosed with Sinovac)
- The volume of the vaccine (e.g. 0.5ml for AstraZeneca/Sinovac and 0.3ml for Pfizer)
- The empty syringe
Other burning questions
As a frontliner giving vaccines at PPV’s, Marissa answered the question on vaccine storage:
In short, the vials are stored in ice boxes at 2 – 8 degrees Celsius with a thermostat placed next to the vaccines to monitor the ice box temperature. Every few hours, a pharmacist auditor will come to check ALL the vaccines to ensure they are within temperature range and are fit for vaccination.
Do vaccinators have to wear gloves?
In her post, she answered that it is not needed unless you come in contact with bodily fluids or have open wounds.
Instead, they sanitise between patients. But as a dentist by profession, Marissa is fussy and brings her own gloves.
Last but not least…
Be kind, courteous and aware says Marissa.
Most medical volunteers want Malaysia to achieve immunity and therefore give you the “perfect” dose.
If you are planning to video your journey, DO ask your vaccinator (s) if they are comfortable.
And if you don’t feel the prick or have side effects, it DOES NOT mean you weren’t jabbed, but could mean they did an excellent job you didn’t even feel the needle.
Former advertising mad woman - turned mother to an amazing little girl born 3 months early - and now a returned writer. Also a textbook ambivert with no clue about today's pop music but a walking encyclopedia of music from the 80s and 90s.